Spinning to create illusion of speed

Spinning–Normally, this picture taken at 1/30 sec at f16 would have a whole lot depth-of-field especially since it was shot with a 17mm lens. The idea was to just have my subject Melissa sharp and the background blurred due to the motion of spinning her. For better results? I would use some sort of clamp to immobilize my camera in the vertical axis.

Imagination is something I lack.

Once in a while though, I surprise myself.

Most folks learn better if they actively do instead of sit passively and listen to their instructor go on and on in a darkened room.

Snore. I am more sensitive to this because among my favorite job descriptions is this one :

A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep

Every semester that I teach this Introduction to Digital Photography class, I am finding more and more ways to make my students use their cameras in class.

I’m having them use their cameras not because the beauty surrounding my classroom location is so inspiring but mostly it’s to teach them hands-on some concepts.

You can see for yourself the beauty I’m immersed in when you look at the pictures.

On the all-important camera handling topic of motion, I brought out 2 chairs, the kind with caster wheels and I had one student sit and stretch her legs out to a second chair.

Then I wheeled her out onto the concrete slab and spun her around while making pictures of her with a wide angle lens on my camera.

Normally this would be problematic to do because of the time of the morning we meet and also how bright it is.

Meter readings at ISO100 typically around 9 am outside my class is 1/500 sec @ f5.6, so that means at f22 the equivalent exposure would be 1/30 sec.

Sometimes 1/30 sec depending on how fast the spinning isn’t enough to give the blurriness we’re looking for.

If you look at the behind-the-scene pictures, you will see I chose to put Melissa, my test pilot, as much as possible in the shadows.

I wanted to get even less light on her so that I could get a slower shutter speed instead of 1/30sec at f22, I was able to shoot at 1/15 sec @ f22 at times.

Note, if an old fart like me doesn’t feel like spinning at break neck speeds, then I can fake this illusion better by using a 1/15 sec instead of 1/30 sec.

The sun was peeping in and out behind the clouds that morning so I had to make minor adjustments.

The whole idea of this exercise, besides seeing which of my students get sick first, is to show them the relationship between focal length, shutter speed and rate of change in velocity–acceleration.

2 thoughts on “Spinning to create illusion of speed”

  1. Thank you Bobee. I may try this again when it’s not sunny. The reason? Lower light levels outdoors (my class meets at 9 am) allow me to use lower shutter speeds.

    Alternatively, I can use a neutral density filter as well to cut down the amount of light entering but my students won’t have access to that. We’ll be working on this and I’ll see if I can post some of their results.

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